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Fight scenes by Greg Bottoms
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Fight scenes (edition 2008)

by Greg Bottoms

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Member:librarybarry
Title:Fight scenes
Authors:Greg Bottoms
Info:Berkeley : Counterpoint : Distributed by Publishers Group West, c2008.
Collections:Your library, Favorites
Rating:****
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Fight Scenes by Greg Bottoms

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These are stories strung together via a through-line of characters and the fact that they depict a certain time in the life of the narrator. In a very loose sense they form a novella, as there are certain themes that develop through the stories, although other aspects are treated piecemeal.

Essentially we get a glimpse of the sometimes brutal world of two working class southern white boys in early pubescence. They are under-parented, under-motivated...under- just about anything that might be good for them. But the book is no celebration of childish decadence, and no cartoonish allegory a la Golding. It is a study of depravity and deprivation. We peer into this world through the sad eyes of the adult one of the boys became. Throughout the book you feel the author lamenting the fact that circumstances and should-be authority figures squandered his youth. Bottoms has a real penchant for picking out the images and memories that convey that sense of loss, such as that of the toddler wandering around in a house alone, her back covered with mosquito welts.

The only thing that kept me from awarding this full points was the author's penchant for occasional artifice, although most of the book is starkly and appropriately minimalist. There is the almost pointless meta-chapter near the end of the book, and the writing in a couple of places careens away from storytelling into self-conscious, gimmicky constructions. Perhaps Bottoms is not yet aware that his telling of the story is already filtering enough of reality? In any case, certainly a writer to watch. ( )
  trivigo | Aug 2, 2010 |
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In an intricately linked series of poetic, short tales set in a 1983 suburb, Greg Bottoms portrays his life as one of two "at-risk" boys as they attempt to learn how to beand what it means to bemen. By turns funny, disquieting, and moving, Fight Scenes takes an unsparing look at juvenile disaffection and the dark side of white, working-class masculinity. By narrating his experiences with childhood buddy Mark, Bottoms shows how many of America's young men learn to think about work, sex, weakness, violence, and themselves.… (more)

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